The "do-it-all" trail bike - options and opinions?

I think there is really no such thing as a “do-it-all” trail bike. Marketers are responding to our growing demand for specificity. The better a bike gets for a single purpose the less it is good for general use. That said, I would have to back track and say that I love my Fuel, as it is very versitle. The short travel makes it lively and responsive. I’ve raced it with good results.

A true race bike will be faster, but it comes at a costs, and that is comfort. I know there will be a lot of people who disagree with me, but that’s what I have found.

The bikes you list all have a great reputation, but don’t sleep on the Trek Fuel. Sometimes you don’t know what you got in your own backyard.

1 Like

Yeah - I asked in the initial post for reactions from people who have experience with the bikes. I’ve read a lot of the reviews, and ideally would get opinions from owners, or people who have test ridden one of the bikes.

I’ve had my Fuel for close to 4 years, and have ridden everything from Leadville to Portal Trail on it. It’s a great bike. I guess I have a wandering eye :rofl:

1 Like

Are you going to upgrade to a 140mm fork, or put your 130mm on the new frame?

I’m going to up mine to a 140 and it’ll also be the 51mm offset compare to the 44. I thought about leaving it at 130 but that would lower the BB a bit and I already get more strikes than I like with my 175mm cranks, and the 2020 bb is lower anyway

Excited though, more frame insertion means I can get a big boy dropper post too

1 Like

The Mojo is a nice looking bike. I tend to keep the wheels on the ground vs looking to get airborne and whip the bike around - so 29er probably suits my riding style better. 27.5 seems to be going pretty niche.

1 Like

Has anyone by any chance done the homework to list out how much the above bikes weigh? Extra credit for identifying weights of same frame sizes and groupsets.

That’s one of the few complaints I have about my Fuel. I should probably swap out to 170mm cranks. Replacing the current XX1 cranks would be expensive tho!

It’s on my to-do list. I’ll pick a size - either M or L - and report the weight for the lightest (and probably most expensive) build.

1 Like

For me, I don’t race. I road ride for fitness and self punishment, while trail riding is more for fun and fooling around. My buddy races on a top fuel and says the TF is definitely faster, but he refers to the FUEL EX as the “party bike”. It’s fun to just make little ramps out of stuff on the trail, throw it into corners aggressively, and it descends pretty well. For me the fun is more important and I feel like I can take the bike pretty much anywhere

The pedal strikes I’ve largely gotten over by learning when to not pedal and also running more pressure in my shock (which I also prefer for other reasons). I run aluminum cranks, just not convinced carbon cranks are a good idea with how many strikes I’ve seen and had others get, it’s unavoidable and I’d rather replace a cheap metal crank and have it be a smidge heavier. Same reason I went with AXS X01 not XX1, that carbon cage kind of sketched me out


This looks like a very good deal…if I had the budget I would take the XT version without much thought:

1 Like

For some reason I’m always weary of these little companies I’ve never heard of, Ibe always been under the impression that they are just throwing their branding on generic Chinese frames. Is this the case or are these small manufacturers actually researching their carbon layups and designing their own product or just rebranding generic Planet X type of stuff?

Think if it’s carbon then you’re probably right most of the time. Though do wonder just how much difference there is between a generic Chinese frame and an entry level carbon frame from one of the big brands. E.g. a Canyon Endurace CF or a Cannondale Synapse Carbon. Suspect with same components and finishing kit it might be hard to tell much difference if any, apart from the warranty.

If it’s metal then there’s still some good small companies out there doing their own thing.

I’ve watched some Leutcher (spelling) Technik videos on YouTube when he cuts open frames for analysis. He did the Emonda SL which is what I have and it was notably better than some others as far as not having resin dry or rich areas, voids, fraying, wrinkling etc. however he compared ENVE vs China carbon wheels and the ENVE had more quality issues.

Warranty process on these smaller brands is kind of a pain too

“To take advantage of the Alchemy warranty, the frame must be sent to Alchemy headquarters at the cost of the owner for inspection, with the proof of purchase. Start by contacting Alchemy Bicycles and requesting a return authorization (RA). Please include the RA number on the outside of the box when you ship back to expedite the process. The cost of shipping and any related insurance for the return shipping must be covered by the purchaser. Alchemy will not accept collect shipments or pay for shipping of bicycles sent in for inspection and is not responsible for more than one-way travel expenses.”

For my TREK, all I did was sent 4 pictures to my LBS and 3 days later my claim was approved and I got to pick a new bike, still riding the existing one while the new frame comes in too. My friend has a Yeti with some frame bearing issues and had to drive 2 hours to a local dealer just to have the claim entered, then drove back when it was approved and waited a while while they fixed it

1 Like

It’s probably been mentioned in this thread, but my next trail bike is going to be the Norco Optic, Pinkbike’s 2019 bike of the year.


Do you know the weights of the higher end builds? The build in the Pinkbike test came in at 31lbs. That’s pretty heavy. Also - did I interpret correctly that there isn’t a lockout or pedal assist mode on the shock?

1 Like

Your assumptions about confirmation bias are unwarranted. I’ve traveled quite a bit and rented many different bikes, different styles and different manufacturer. In my optinion, what he was looking for describes the Trek Fuel.

I understand, I would demo all the bikes on your list. I think it’s fun and gives you a comparison. I had a guitar teacher who always had a different guitar. I asked him about it once and he said, “that the only thing he ever promised to be monogamous about was his wife.” I think it applies to bikes too.

I know I’m repeating myself, but the beauty of the Fuel is that it is a solid all arounder. It’s not a sexy like the Yeti’s, but it’s a lot easier on the pocket book too.
If you said you wanted to ride gnawrly stuff, race or downhill, I would have had a different opinion.

If you do get to demo some of the ones on your list, I would like it if you could post your findings as a follow up to this thread.

  • For me at least, that was more true with the 2017-2019 gen Fuel Ex. The geo, travel and more “tight” handling are what I see as a Heavy XC / Trail bike.
  • The changes with the 2020 Fuel EX to the slacker geo, bigger fork and such lean it more towards the Heavy Trail / Light Enduro range. It got too “agro” for my taste.
  • I suspect it’s better for some riders, but it went too far for my needs and preferences (light and snappy enough to race an XC if I want, but plenty capable on the trail to not make we wish I picked a burlier bike).

That is why I ended up with a hold-over 2019 9.9 Fuel EX. It was down to that and a Ripley V4, with the final choice settling on availability and price (Trek better for both). I still would love to try the Rip and think it fills the basic wishlist of w DIA trail bike.